Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive”
And this is because, as I explained to Scarlet, “It’s really f-ing awesome, isn’t it?” Yes. It is. To be honest, I’ve been trying to channel the girl who booked the Bruce Hornsby tickets at 5:00 am and talked her mom into going as well. The girl who gave up all control to a trusted travel agent, decided to leave five family members and two puppies, and somehow thought that Newark Airport (shudder) was a good idea. Now the deed is done and the die is cast. I have reservations with off-site parking, a thorough itinerary, and a new email reminder from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall that I have Bruce Hornsby tickets booked. This is INSANE. We’re at the point of securing passports, buying tiny travel bottles, setting aside magazines for flights, and buying protein bars for survival. I have the eye of the tiger right now. I’m having dreams about the flights, where I fly all the way to Australia first, which is pretty damn far away, and then I think, “Well. Scotland isn’t so bad, is it?” My phone doesn’t work. There are crocodiles now in my path.
It doesn’t matter that I can drink the water in Scotland, and that I’m going away over mostly weekdays, so school and daycare will cover/distract the kids through most of it. It doesn’t matter that the food isn’t exotic, although I’m told the cured meat might be too salty, whatever that means. It’s still a big step that I’m leaving the continent, and my family. It doesn’t matter that it’s only for five days, really, when you take out travel time. And it doesn’t matter that I’ll be with two familiar people – my mom, and Bruce Hornsby, of course. Maybe I’m not familiar to him, but that’s ok. His soft piano intros are my why. I listen to them when I start to feel doubt seeping in. My therapist and I discussed sensory visualization. I’m good in a crisis, like when small puppies swallow socks, or babies get rushed to NICUs. I’m even good in events, like turbulent flights, Bat Mitzvahs and weddings, and whatever else I’ve had to really show up for. It’s the anticipation that gets me; chokes me. It’s like a banana peel that trips me when I least expect it. A hornet in my stomach and a shaking in my shoes. It’s NOT COOL, but you see, I’ve got the eye of the tiger.
We talked this week about visualization, and about imagining the sensory experiences I could have. What will it smell like, taste like, feel like. Fresh cookies in a hotel lobby. Freshly popped popcorn, just because. The feel of a new bed, perfectly not too firm and not too soft. The drive to the airport and the soft piano intros. Buying a crisp new magazine in an airport newsstand and drinking down cold water to calm the nerves and quench the dry air. Thinking about what this adventure could and should be, and exploring the wonder of what it actually is. The time travel and the time together. Scottish accents and Scottish breakfasts too. Everything familiar, but not familiar. It doesn’t matter that I can drink the water and speak the language. I’m still going to be out of my element, because I’m going to be out of my element. And I’m ok with that. I’ve got the eye of the tiger, and I’m now on my hunt. I’ve been chewed and spit out, again and again.
I decided to do that visualization thing on my way home, because coming home from therapy to chaos can be damaging to me if I don’t somehow prepare for it. Imagine walking in from deep therapy, to deep noise. Five family members, and not all friendly. FIVE DOGS, and mostly all friendly. Too friendly, at times. My head and neck hurt just thinking about it, as I drove home, swallowed by the dark highway. So I pictured it. The house is quiet. Cassidy gives me a hug. It smells like nachos. The dogs are sleeping, and the kids are all pleasant. Cassidy has left out cheese for my nachos. I took a deep breath and pulled into the driveway, still filled with snow.
When I pulled into the driveway, with the light on, Cassidy was alone in there getting something from the van. So I got out of the car to a quiet hug. We walked into the house, and it did indeed smell like nachos. The puppies were quiet and watchful. The kids were quiet and watchful. There was cheese set out for my nachos! Now in therapy, we didn’t talk about manifesting magic and dreams, or money and success. We talked about visualizing things in detail, in order to prepare your nervous system for the unknown. To train it to expect pleasant things, like gum drops and popcorn; the soothing hum of an airplane up high. It was more about science than magic, but I’m telling you how cool it was to walk into the vision I had imagined, when our house is RARELY ever quiet and welcoming. The hum of the refrigerator, and quiet laughter from a Bluey episode.
It’s what I think about these days. It’s what I reframe. A stressful drive to Newark, NJ? Nah, it’s three hours all alone with a Bruce Hornsby playlist. The hustle and bustle of a crazy airport? Nah, it’s three hours of excited and nervous travelers and laughter. The familiar and the unfamiliar. A flight over the Atlantic? It’s time travel and magic, with ships and possibly sea monsters under me. 7-9 hours over the ocean? It’s quiet and lulling; maybe a chance to get some nodding sleep. Maybe my visions will be all wrong, but will still settle the soul. Maybe they’ll be all right, with the faintest hint of sparkly magic. And maybe, I just don’t know at all. It’s all possibility in the unknown. Even the known can be unknown. I reframed my brain and reframed my heart, to walk into a house filled with noise, yes, because it’s filled with love and possibility. Promise.
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I’m not going to stop
Just a man and his will to survive
It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight”